Although some researchers use the terms hypertext and hypermedia interchangeably, or understand hypertext as including hypermedia (or vice versa), the distinction between the two terms is still useful in order to make sense of the challenging changes that continue to characterize 21st-century means of communication. For this purpose, hypermedia is defined here as the complex technology that enables multimedia communication through hypertexts. Taking this perspective implies that hypertexts can be defined as dynamic and interactive meaning-making practices. Notwithstanding their limitations, these definitions are meant to introduce the following discussion of these two terms.

The tremendous impacts of hypertext and hypermedia upon contemporary communication are to be found at cognitive, semiotic, political, economic, and social levels, and therefore, a wide array of viewpoints have to be taken ...

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